Court rejects Nirav Modi’s plea on confiscation of properties

ED lists properties worth ₹1,396.07 crore to be confiscated

A special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court on Monday rejected the plea of diamantaire Nirav Modi, who is currently lodged in a prison in the United Kingdom, seeking that he should be heard before passing any order on confiscation of his properties. The court is scheduled to begin hearing on the confiscation of Mr. Modi’s properties on February 29.

Mr. Modi was declared a fugitive economic offender on December 5. The court had enabled the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to confiscate his properties in India, United Kingdom, and United Arab Emirates.

But the Punjab National Bank had approached the court urging it to not allow confiscation but to release the properties to the bank to clear the dues Mr. Modi owed it. On the basis of the bank’s plea, Mr. Modi had filed an application asking for a copy of the bank’s plea and that he be heard before passing any order.

The court, however, said Mr. Modi had no right to claim the copy as he had been declared a fugitive, and he would not be heard before passing an order. The court said it would only hear parties who had an interest in the properties that Mr. Modi owned and was listed by the ED for confiscation.

The court further said the process of confiscation of properties would begin on February 29, and all parties who were interested should file their pleas before it. The court has also issued notices to Mr. Modi’s family members and companies on whose names the properties are listed.

The ED till now has listed properties worth ₹1,396.07 crore to be confiscated which the agency claimed was purchased or owned from the proceeds of crimes by Mr. Modi. While declaring him a fugitive, the court had said that Mr. Modi had left the country under suspicious circumstances to dodge the penal consequences of the acts he had done while in India till 2018.

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